The Right Way to Pack for Vacation


We’ve all done it. Planning, and replanning every last detail of your trip isn't the best way to authentically experience a destination. But travel experts agree that covering the most basic elements of comfort is necessary before taking off on your adventure.

That means paying attention to what you pack. Vacation packing may seem trivial as your big plans are being bolted down, but don’t be fooled. What you bring, and don't bring, will ultimately have a lot of impact on how your trip goes.

Pack Less Than You Think You’ll Need

Travel experts know the worst packing error is to weigh yourself down with baggage. Stick to a few basics and of course those items you can't function without. Avoid dressing for every possible event or outcome, and instead, seek out clothing and shoes that do double, or triple duty. Vacation Packing success comes from culling out those items that solve the "maybe" moments and leaving room for trinkets, memories, and less to carry.

Remember the Must-Haves

While we'd like to see you set yourself free from carrying too much, there are some items you just can't find with ease when abroad. In general, make sure you pack:

  • Medications and back-up prescriptions for life-saving items

  • Contact lenses and glasses

  • Passport, plus a photocopy to store in your bag

  • Weather appropriate walking clothes

  • One to two nicer outfits for dining out

  • Casual shorts, skirts or light pants that can be dressed up for dinner or down for the museum

  • A light jacket or sweater

  • Good shoes - Look for shoes that can pull double duty to save room in your bag. On all our tours expect to walk a lot as we taste and explore the region's cuisines. A pair of suitable walking shoes is a life saver!

Lots of Toiletries if You’re Going to Cuba

In Cuba and other remote or economically struggling destinations, basic toiletries can be hard to come by. We suggest you bring all toothbrushes, paste, soaps, shampoos, hair essentials and restroom necessaries with you. Maybe even bring a few extra to leave with your hosts.

And don’t pack these

  • Heavy coats. Unless you’re traveling in winter to a snowy destination like Alaska.

  • Multiple pairs of dress shoes. You won't need them very often, and they take up too much room.

  • Extra hats and sweaters. Why not purchase one at your destination, and you’ll have it as a memory.

Learn about our award-winning culinary tours and explore culture through cuisine.